4901 was built at Crewe Works in 1945 and was paired with a Stanier 4000 gallon, Mk 2 all welded tender and carried a standard type 3B boiler.
It was painted in mixed traffic black livery of the period, and retained the LMS identity until some 2 years after the nationalisation of Britain’s railways in 1948 when it finally received the number 44901 in February, 1950 as part of the newly nationalised B.R.re numbering scheme. Livery was the Riddles LNWR lined black livery which was ultimately adopted as the standard mixed traffic livery for all British Railway mixed traffic locomotives.
Following steam testing on what was called the “vacuum pit” at Crewe Works towards the end of October, 1945, it was line tested between Crewe and Shrewsbury and following sign off, sent to Carlisle (Kingmoor) shed where it remained for the next 19 years and 10 months until withdrawal from service in August 1965.
During its relatively short life 44901 had works repairs carried out at Inverness, Glasgow (St. Rollox) and Crewe. Following various tender swaps at works overhauls, it received its final Mk1 all riveted tender in 1956, which it retained until withdrawal in 1965.
Being shedded at Kingmoor, the principal Northern Division shed of the LMS, the nature of that depots’ work would have had itr working regularly over the U.K.s four most notorious and strenuous mainline inclines. Shap, Beattock, Ais Gill and Slochd (between Inverness and Aviemore).
With dieselisation spreading rapidly across the main lines of Britain’s railways in the early 1960’s, 44901 was withdrawn from traffic in August, 1965 after a very hard and eventful but short working life.
Following withdrawal from service the locomotive was sold to Woodham Brothers at Barry for scrap where it arrived in 1966.
There it remained for the next 47 years (save a brief spell at Cardiff Bute Road), losing its tender and many other component parts as spares to other preserved black fives. 44901 was one of the twenty last locomotives left at Barry becoming one of the Barry 10. The Barry 10 were a collection of scrapyard locomotives that were removed from Woodham Brothers in 1990 when Dai Woodham retired. They were then taken on by the Vale of Glamorgan Council and for the next 20 years the locomotives were stored in scrapyard condition, although several were bought.
44901 was purchased by Black 5 44901 Co Ltd and moved in 2013 to Moveright International’s yard in the midlands until further restoration work could begin. The boiler was removed whilst what was left of 44901 was still at Barry for eventual use by Riley and Son (e) Ltd.
In December 2015 the engine was moved to Sharpness Engine Shed, the current home of the fledgling Vale of Berkeley Railway, where it was planned that restoration of 44901 would start. The plan was that moving the locomotive to Sharpness would provide access to excellent engineering facilities.
It is the aim of the Black 5 44901 Co Ltd is to restore the engine to its former glory as a precious working museum piece, on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway.
By early 2017 worked had commenced on initial cleaning work and the stripping of parts from the frames. The locomotive is to be moved from the Vale of Berkeley Railway’s Sharpness Docks to another private storage facility nearby as space is needed at Sharpness for other work.
The locomotive was still at the Vale of Berkeley Railway in September 2020.
|Home Base||Current Status||Owner|
|Planned to be Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway when restored||Under restoration||Black 5 44901 Company|
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